Posted: Friday December 22, 2006 11:03AM; Updated: Friday December 22, 2006 11:33AM
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With Christmas almost here, the 10 Spot has decided to play Santa. Here's what we're putting under the tree for various sports figures:
1. For Daisuke Matsuzaka, a new winter coat. As 10 Spot reader Mitch of Norton, Va., pointed out last week, the monstrosity of a ski jacket that the Japanese hurler was wearing when he touched down in Boston last week was a dead ringer for the puffy GORE-TEX coat George Costanza wore in Season 5's The Dinner Party. Come on, D-Mat, we realize the Seibu Lions skimmed $51.1 million of your loot, but you can still spring for a nice overcoat.
2. For Carmelo Anthony, a tryout as an NFL defensive back. Did you see that backpedal in Madison Square Garden? You can bet it caught the eye of NFL scouts, who are always on the lookout for talent. That was also a decent pop to the face of Mardy Collins. Besides, 'Melo doesn't have anything to do for a while.
3. For Bode Miller, a calendar. Preferably one with February highlighted every four years -- as in the Olympics. Miller is actually leading the World Cup standings at the moment, but all that most casual sports fans remember is his Olympic flop in Torino. It's not fair, but American skiers (plus swimmers, figure skaters, etc.) are judged by their Olympic success. Bode's times might be awfully good, but his timing is lousy.
4. For Albert Haynesworth, slippers. If the Titans defensive tackle insists on stomping people, at least get those cleats off. Putting Haynesworth in a nice fleece-lined pair of booties is good news for everyone. Andre Gurode thanks you in advance.
5. For Saints fans, a home playoff victory. Really, is this too much to ask? The travails of the Saints' fan base in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have been well-documented. Besides that, the franchise has notched a grand total of one playoff victory in its history, a 31-28 win over the Rams in 2000. It's time for one more.
6. For Joe Cullen, a pair of Dockers. The Lions assistant coach, of course, rolled into a Wendy's drive-through this season sans pants. He's not even the quarterback coach, which at least would have allowed us to break out some "naked bootleg" jokes. It's hard for a Lions official to look worse than Matt Millen, but Cullen pulled it off.
7. For Zinedine Zidane, some ear plugs. Really, it's hard to believe one of the world's best soccer players hadn't heard every bit of trash talk imaginable during his long career. For him to allow Italy's Marco Materazzi's chirping (apparently about Zidane's sister, though Materazzi confessed he didn't even know for sure Zidane had a sister) to provoke him into a blatant headbutt during the World Cup final was inexcusable.
8. For college basketball fans, another George Mason. We don't mean the actual patriot, or even the Patriots themselves necessarily, but rather another mid-major Cinderella making a run to the Final Four. George Mason's magical ride was more fun than anything else in sports in 2006. Who's next? Butler? Wichita State? Missouri State? Who cares, just bust that bracket.
9. For T.O.'s publicist, a carton of gum. The way Kim Etheredge smacks her way through her supply while giving damage-control press conferences, she might need Seinfeld's Lloyd Braun to hook her up. Her client's endless dramas will doubtless keep her chewing away.
10. For MLB owners, the humility to never again cry for a salary cap. Sure, baseball could use even more revenue sharing to level the financial playing field. But why should the players agree to artificially prevent the owners from fulfilling their natural instincts, which apparently include showering cash on the likes of, say, career mediocrity Gil Meche ($55 million for career numbers of 55-44 and 4.65 ERA)?
The 10 Spot would like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season. The 10 Spot will return on Tuesday, Jan. 2, with the eagerly awaited list of before-they-were-famous Seinfeld cameos. See you then.